U.S. Observes National Childhood Obesity Month and Raises Awareness About the Ongoing Epidemic

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The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides a chance to learn more about this serious health condition.

In 2010, the U.S. took an important step to end the epidemic of childhood obesity by observing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month for the first time. Since then, childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and there has been an encouraging drop in obesity rates among children ages two to five years old. However, more than 30 percent of American children are still overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Children with obesity are also at a higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems.

In addition to the physical health problems, children with obesity are often bullied and teased more than their normal-weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and low self-esteem. Finally, children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

Many factors can have an impact on childhood obesity, including eating, physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, community and social factors. For some children and families, obesity also may be influenced by the following:

  • too much time spent being inactive
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
  • easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • lack of access to affordable, healthier foods

As we observe National…

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